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Night on Broadway event canceled amid mounting legal pressure for Councilman Jose Huizar

Night on Broadway event canceled amid mounting legal pressure for Councilman Jose Huizar
People pack Broadway in downtown Los Angeles for the Night on Broadway event on Jan. 27, 2018. The annual event will not be held in 2019. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The annual Night on Broadway event, which attracts people to downtown Los Angeles’ Historic Core as part of City Councilman Jose Huizar’s plan to revitalize the area, has been canceled for the coming year.

The event, which began in 2014 and features access to Broadway’s historic theaters, live music, carnival rides and food booths, will return in 2020, according to the event’s website.

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The cancellation comes roughly a month after FBI agents searched Huizar’s home and offices, hauling out an array of materials, including a cardboard box labeled “Fundraising.”

Patti Berman, president of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, said she was disappointed to learn the event won’t be happening next month. Berman said the letter she received from Huizar’s office about the cancellation offered no explanation for the change.

“Council District 14 produces this 100% by themselves, and under the circumstances, it's probably more than they can handle,” said Berman, who indicated that she was speaking for herself, not for the neighborhood council.

Huizar spokesman Rick Coca did not offer a reason for the move, saying in a statement that Night on Broadway “will be better served” if it is rescheduled.

"Our office continues to support community events, including seven holiday events throughout Council District 14 this holiday season,” he said.

The cancellation was reported earlier by City News Service.

Huizar has been under legal pressure for several weeks. He has been sued by two former aides who alleged that they faced retaliation after complaining about unethical or potentially illegal activities.

After the FBI searches, Huizar was stripped of his committee assignments that deal with planning, economic development, poverty and homelessness, and election rules and state legislation.

About 250,000 people attended Night on Broadway in January. The event is billed as a key component of Huizar’s 10-year plan — known as the “Bringing Back Broadway” initiative — to boost economic development along the historic thoroughfare.

Berman said the yearly event has been a huge success, showcasing the area’s shops and restaurants and giving newcomers reasons to come back.

“It's something that's going to be difficult to replicate,” she said.

Times staff writers David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.

5:15 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Patti Berman.

This article was originally published at 7:35 a.m.

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